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Medications for TB and Malaria to be cleared from port next week

The Ministry of Health has assured yet again that it will clear the TB and Malaria medications stuck at the port within the next week.

118 containers of essential malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV medications, which arrived in October last year, have been delayed due to outstanding demurrage and third-party charges totalling seven million cedis, risking expiration.

The Global Fund has already issued a final warning to Ghana demanding immediate clearance of tuberculosis (TB) and malaria medications that arrived in the country last October. According to the fund, despite assurances from the government, a portion of the shipments remain stuck at the port and can expire.

In April, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) announced it had secured the tax waivers to enable it to clear the drugs after months of delay. Samuel Hackman, from the Global Fund Coordinating Mechanism Secretariat, said, “At this juncture, it is as bad as it was 2 months ago because the issue has not been fully resolved. This issue we are referring to is part of the $ 45 million commodities that were procured by the Global Fund under the GC64 Ghana, and that part of it has still been held or packed at the port. It is very worrying and is also denting the relationship that we have with the Global Fund as a country.

Mr Hackman emphasised that the Global Fund is considering withdrawing its assistance to Ghana regarding drug procurement.

“They have stated it categorically, they would have done that earlier but for the long-standing relationship they want to hold on and see the promises that we have put on the table, whether we’ll be able to fulfil them or not, and it is within a specified time, that we need to do that or count ourselves out.

According to him, “The Global Fund needs to explain to donors and the managers of the Fund need to explain this to their boss. And so, nobody wants to find themselves doing this kind of communication which does not bring anything. Rather, it disturbs people’s energy.

However, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health, Isaac Baah Offei, says the ministry has received the necessary funding from the government to clear the medications within a week.

“We cannot say that we are not concerned. He also noted that several communications have taken place with the Global Fund for them to understand the challenges at hand.

“Over the past few months, they’ve seen commitment that the Ministry had committed into carrying some of the goods that came up. I don’t think that that will be part of the decision to say that because we are capped with these commodities they’re taking us out, no, I’m not preempting that, but we had over 400 containers, and we have cleared till we now have 180.

“We are doing our best just that the best is not enough and we hope to make sure that those drugs are cleared with Global Fund decisions and government collaborations.

Addressing concerns about the Global Fund potentially cutting ties if the abandoned commodities are not cleared, Mr Baah Offei assured that the ministry has received no such indications.

“We had a lot of challenges somewhere around April, there was a tripartite committee between the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, and the Revenue Authority. These drugs are coming to the government, and the government is the one to receive money in terms of errands and all that, so let’s have a way of taking them out.

“There are subsequent drugs that are coming in, but we’re not facing those challenges again so what we can talk about now is the old ones that are not coming apart from that, this year we received several commodities from Global Fund, which we’ve cleared as a result of the committee’s funding decisions that took place.

“So we believe that when we can clear this one as well, then there that challenge will not occur again,” he added


Credit: https://www.myjoyonline.com/